Sunday, 30 August 2015

Review: Aurora Eden by Amanda Bridgeman

The future starts now …

In the wake of the tragic events in Centralis, Captain Saul Harris stands with the weight of the world on his shoulders. With the truth of UNFASP revealed, he realizes that he must embrace his ancestry if he is to survive the coming onslaught. But how far will Harris go to protect the future? Will he sacrifice life as he knows it and become a Jumbo? Or can he face the future as a common man?

Meanwhile Sergeant Carrie Welles has been left devastated by what has happened. Uncertain of the future ahead, and with her nemesis, Sharley, on the brink of control, she struggles to pick herself up. But she is left surprised when help comes from the unlikeliest of places.

As her life veers off in a direction she never expected, Carrie soon understands that she is running a course with a destiny that lies far beyond her control. A destiny that is strangely aligned with her Captain’s.


Aurora: Eden is fifth in Amanda Bridgeman's Aurora series and picks up shortly after Aurora: Centralis leaves off. I felt the transition between the first four books, the balance between the team dealing with the losses of the past and the dangers in their future and finally, as I've come to enjoy, the capital A Action at the end.

I must admit to having become fan-girly about this series. I love the action, the enhanced soldiers and the fact the women are allowed to be women. I disagree with any suggestion Welles and the other women in these books receive unequal treatment due to their gender. I agree with the reality in the Aurora series. Regardless of training, enhancement or opportunity I'll take a strong woman in a futuristic novel over one who is assumed able to take on an opponent ten inches taller and a hundred pounds heavier. Strong women are okay.

Now I must also admit that Ms. Bridgeman has my heart on a string when it comes to the Aurora crew. After the unfathomably strong yank she gave that string at the end of book four Aurora: Centralis, I tried hard to hold back on my attachment to the crew but for me it was a losing battle.

Where the other novels in the series gave us a prologue to position Sharley and mainly filtered his actions through the POV of the Aurora crew, Eden gives us tastes of Sharley's men throughout. For me, this drove Bridgeman's tension high. Considering the backgrounds of Sharley's new recruits, I approached the battle I knew must be coming with huge apprehension. The way she moved quickly back and forth through all the action at the end really worked. I was left anxious about so many things at once and considering that one string that got pulled at the end of Aurora: Centralis the thought Ms. Bridgeman had the courage to pull it again was always there.

Sticking with this series is easy for me. It's a great story with strong, consistent and very real characters. Each book ends with a bang though each bang is different and exciting and I've never been left to feel I've seen it before even though the players (for the most part) remain the same.

This is a series I will continue to invest my time in. No hesitation. My deepening attachment to the Aurora's crew makes each book better than the one before and for me, that's the number one sign of a great series. They grow, they change and through it all, their choices, both easy and hard, are understandable.

I received a copy from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Review: The Night of the Long Knives by Fritz Lieber

I was one hundred miles from Nowhere ― and I mean that literally ― when I spotted this girl out of the corner of my eye. I’d been keeping an extra lookout because I still expected the other undead bugger left over from the murder party at Nowhere to be stalking me.
Welcome to Deathland, a postapocalyptic nuclear desert where kill or be killed is the law of the land. The radiation-damaged survivors of this ravaged region are consumed by the urge to murder each other, making partnership of any sort a lethal risk. But when two drifters forge an uneasy truce, the possibility of a new life beckons.
Written by a multiple Hugo Award–winning author and one of the founders of the sword-and-sorcery genre, this novel-length magazine story first appeared at the height of Cold War paranoia. Fritz Leiber's thought-provoking tale addresses timeless questions about the influences of community and culture as well as the individual struggle to reform.


I've been in s slump when it comes to post-apocalyptic stories. I wasn't really sure why. Might have been my recent selections were variations on "how can we quickly turn everyone into zombies so we can get on with the scenes involving axes and shotguns."

That would be it.

The Night of the Long Knives is very, very different. As a "Classic" edition from Dover Publications, it promised to offer a very different style of writing, one I enjoy reading the likes of Dick and Bradbury, and I was not disappointed.

I have to admit I didn't read the part of the blurb about social commentary until after I finished the book. For me, growing up in the seventies, there was still the very real fear of nuclear disaster so I was quick to align myself with the post-nuclear setting. Also, it skipped the whole "how we wiped ourselves out" part and dunked us head-long into life as it is after the disaster.

I liked the futuristic elements and the rebuild society. The mystery of the flying craft the characters find themselves in and their decisions to remain mistrustful and look after themselves first. And of course the knives.

The Night of the Long Knives is not a long read, as they go, and I enjoyed the characters and story. Definitely recommended.

I received a copy from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Review: Dinosaur Amigurumi by Justyna Kacprzak

Geared toward practitioners of amigurumi, the Japanese art of crocheting stuffed dolls, this is the only how-to book dedicated to dinosaur patterns. Learn how to crochet fourteen adorable prehistoric creatures to cuddle, from familiar species such as Tyrannosaurus rex, Triceratops, and Stegosaurus to Mosasaurus, Edmontosaurus, and other lesser-known but equally lovable varieties. 

Each project features complete, well-illustrated instructions, plus full-color photos of the finished model. The patterns are easy to follow and are suitable for crocheters at all skill levels, from novices to experienced hands.

This book of crochet dinosaurs was too cute to pass up. I've crocheted little animals before with whatever leftovers I had at hand (mass produced until I had blisters for the tween to sell for entrepreneur project) and decided to do these right. Armed with the right sized hook from the store and the recommended yarn I ordered online, I got started.

This is my Dimetrodon in progress.

I found the pattern devilishly simple and ALL the stops and starts along the way were entirely my own doing. For me, the starting place for each round seemed to wander so I started using a stitch marker so my own semi-inconsistent crochet habits don't make my dinosaurs' heads all crooked. Otherwise, I just keep doing what the pattern says and it takes shape.

The Cotton-ish yarn by Vickie Howell Bernat and hook size make a nice tight piece and I've had no issues with stuffing popping out between the stitches. The recommended yarn is very smooth, however, and combined with the slick metal hook taking my time has paid off.

I definitely recommend this book of patterns. These little guys will make terrific stocking stuffers for kids (and adults). If you're looking for something a little different to get into (or a project you can tuck in your purse or tote to work on whenever) this will definitely keep your hands busy.

Oh, and they are completely addictive.

Does this book motivate me to strike out on my own, experiment and see what sort of shapes I can create? Yes. For that reason alone I give it full marks.

I received a copy from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Review: Ours to Save by Shona Husk

Micah Stone sees Solitaire as a fresh start. With twenty years’ experience in the agriculture industry, he hopes the colony won’t make the same mistakes that were made on Earth.

To most people, Micah looks like a member of the well educated elite, but he’s really a Gaia activist. Not only did he lie about his daughter’s age to get her on board, but his partner is one of the most dangerous women on Siren.

Felicity Valez was once an Army explosives expert, and she was also a member of the radical Gaia Movement. After being sentenced to life for sedition, she wound up on Siren. To protect her partner and daughter while they’re on board, she needs to make sure that no one links the family together.

But her liaisons with Micah have been noted. And when her daughter’s life is threatened Felicity will do the one thing she promised Micah she’d never do again: rig an explosive that will kill.

No one on Siren is safe.


Ours to Save is the seriously explosive finish to the ES Siren series by Shona Husk, Denise Rossetti and Mel Teshco. Yep, used an adverb. THE adverb. Couldn't help it. With Unity so very, very close, the passengers on ES Siren have a lot more to think about than landing and hard work. A prisoner faction has infiltrated all corners of the ship and refuses remain under the jailors' control.

This ninth and final episode of the series adds an element we haven't seen before.

A family.

I really felt for Micah and Felicity. I loved how they were presented and wanted them to succeed and have the happy ending they never got on Earth. Both are brave and willing to give it all up for each other and their daughter.

I liked how Husk combined the action from book seven, Ours to Embrace, and my feelings for the rebels I got to know in book eight , Ours to Share, and put me in the unenviable position of needing both sides to succeed. Not only do we see the tension through to the end but we also feel the isolation of those for whom the stakes are highest while they are so very helpless to take action.

Again, I appreciated how very well Husk, Rossetti and Tescho built nine stories together, each contributing three and nailed their consistency of plot, voice and world building.

I received a copy from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Review: Ours to Share by Mel Teshco

If stealing from the rich to give to the poor is a crime, then Silo Warrick is a felon of the highest order.

A gifted horticulturist found guilty of stealing from the elite greenhouses, Silo is also an extraordinary musician, and therefore the perfect con to throw onboard the Earth Ship Siren. Though he’s promised a fresh start on Solitaire, Silo’s not about to believe his captors.

But his disgust of the elite is about to be challenged by highbrow lovers Cloey Pederson and Jasmine Hewitt. They aren’t the arrogant and superior snobs Silo has learned to hate, even though trusting them is a whole ballpark out of his league.

One woman might whet Silo’s carnal appetite; two is cause for all his wet dreams to come true. But are Cloey and Jasmine double the trouble or twice as nice?

Ours to Share is the eighth book of the ES Siren series by Mel Teshco, Denise Rossetti and Shona Husk. It takes us from departing Earth and the troubled lives the Unity bound passengers escaped, the fallout of a catastrophic micro-meteor shower and in this final trio of stories some of the prisoners onboard prepare to make their own way when it comes time to landing on their new home.

Where book seven, Ours to Embrace, and book nine, Ours to Save bring on the action, Ours to Share is a definite loop in the series' path. While there's still danger, there's a certain gentleness to the story. I liked the basic and open relationship between Cloey and Jasmine and adding Silo brings on a great sweetness to their trio.

Book eight had me changing sides to the prisoner rebellion. At the end, I wanted to go with them wherever Cloey, Jasmine and Silo wound up. I have found that with this series, the more I read, the more I feel the desperation and hope spread so thickly through the world Teshco, Rossetti and Husk created. If you're looking to pick a couple of books in the series and read them I don't think you'll be disappointed but you will definitely feel their world's pull if you experience them all from the start.